The past night was a rough one for Luca. Keeping his charges out of trouble, well really keeping them from getting into even more trouble then they were already in. He was almost certain that they would all be feeling quite rough this morning. After preparing himself with his morning routine of exercising he tossed his latest lover out of his small apartment.
“I bet they’re all still asleep. I don’t like us all being in separate places, we’re too easy to pick off like that.” He had walked Iskanda back first after she fell over for the 4th time, Terth was just sober enough to help hold her up. Terth was the next one tossed into his home. As Julian and Luca closed the door they were sure they heard the sounds of vomiting coming from the privvy chamber. Julian was sober enough to find his way back, but Luca didn’t trust him to head straight home, so he was escorted as well.
“I guess I’ll make the rounds and see if we can collect ourselves for a breakfast, or more likely brunch at this point.”
He gets ready and heads out, knocking on the door of his friend…
“Lucca. Morning. Is anyone dead?”
Julian rubs his temple and gives out a sigh
“The last thing i recall is you and iskanda fighting and the shackle man coming. I think i pissed in an ally. Tell me is this common of drinking.”
Across town Terth startles awake in his bed, covered in sweat and sheets tossed everywhere in spite of the cooling weather. He looks around, a panicked look in his eye as he tries to piece together the previous night. Words like “brunch” and “another shot” filter through his booze-addled brain. He buries his face in a pillow and tries to go back to sleep.
Ten minutes later and no luck, Terth finally crawls out of bed, pulls on the cleanest jacket he has, runs a comb through his hair, and puts on a spritz of cologne to hide the booze smell. Pulling the door shut behind him, he pulls out a notepad and scribles a note before hanging it off a nail on the door.
“Gone to Crossroads. Gonna grab a table for all of us.”
“Whoa, watch where you’re – oh.” Amid the late morning bustle on a busy street, Iskanda squints at the man who nearly stumbled into her. “Terth?”
Her clothes are different and she seems sober – passably enough, at least – but dark circles under her eyes and a faraway look to her expression betray any sort of put-togetherness she might otherwise display.
“Oh. It is you. Hm.” She blinks. “Didn’t expect to run into you, I was just heading back from business at the church. Where are you headed?”
Terth blinks and runs a hand through his hair.
“Oh hey, Iskanda. Fancy running into you here. I was actually on my to uh…”
He blinks again and looks around. “…gods, it’s really out today. Uh, anyway, I was on my way to grab breakfast.” He checks his watch. “Lunch. Brunch. I think I remember us talking about it at some point last night. I couldn’t remember where we decided to meet though so I figured the Crossroads Cafe is as good as any, it’s pretty much in between all our houses anyway. I left a note on my door. Have you seen Julian or uh, Luca?”
Iskanda shakes her head, almost grimacing at the mention of Luca. “No. I was-” A yawn cuts her off. “-on my way home. But…you might be right about the meal. I think I remember that. Maybe. Hm.”
She stares off for a moment, tapping her chin, then seems to remember that she’s talking to someone. “Oh, um. Food does sound good about now. Can’t promise I’ll stick around after, though. Shall we?” She nods towards…a direction. Whether it’s the right way, she isn’t quite sure. “What time is it, anyway?”
Luca betrays a laugh at Julians question. “Yes its quite common actually. I’m quite used to saving people from themselves after drinking. Don’t tell me this is your first time drinking though!?! And no no one is dead.”
Luca studies his friend, as Julian displays all the signs of a first time drunk. Thinking back to the previous night, Luca remembers the barman mixing him special concoctions, and quite a few of them. He also thumbs the coins in his purse, the ones he won from the other patrons and will now buy breakfast for his freinds with.
“Come on Julian, I went by Terth’s place earlier and the note said he’d meet us at the Crossroads. Hopefully Iskanda remembers as well. I hope I didn’t bruise her ego too much last night. It might be best not to mention the fight to her until after she’s had her meal.”
With that Luca turns and begins walking to the cafe.
‘Well ive drank before just normally at home and only a bottle or two. Its odd dredge seem to give one more senses or alter ones i had. That cocktail seemed to rob me of some and make others simpler. I did scibble some poems before bed."
At the comment of iskanda Julian smiles.
“It was nice to see her loose control. WelI guess she doesnt have that much to begin with but this seemed a different kind of control. Not that im one to comment on her prudence. I wouldn’t worry, she shouldn’t hold anything against you. We were in no shape to face anyone and more so we cannot afford to make any more enemies."
Scratching his forehead he gives a long sigh.
“We need to be making more..friends. I acknowledge my actions are partly to blame but im open to suggestions. Iskanda certainly doesn’t want to break bread with either Elizabeth’s family or either church shes linked too. Terth seems open but at a dead end. The only party they’d both seem fine with is connected with the laugh. Which i think doesn’t want anything to do with me. No wait they want plenty to do with me just—none of it good. Did they ever tell you why i have this blood bound curse? What i did?”
“You’ve taken dredge before? Awful stuff, leaves you disconnected from your body. I knew a few fighters who took it because it ‘enhanced’ their senses or they just wanted to dull the pain of that life. I don’t recall any who are still among the living.” Luca idly fondles the pommel of his sword.
“You’re right though, her losing control was a nice change of pace. I don’t know how well I could have held her back if you had decided to help her, so thanks for not doing that.”
As they enter the cafe, a decent enough place that serves as a sort of neutral ground for the different classes, Luca spots Terth and Iskanda sitting at a corner table. “Good table”, Luca thinks to himself, “We can sit facing the windows, a nice high back so no one can sneak up, and a good view of the entire place.”
Purposefully he starts the conversation back up with Julian as they sit down, “I’m not sure who we could ally with in the city Julian. I don’t think a whole faction would be that great right now, too many politics. We should start smaller, contacts for information, an underground one for special equipment, and maybe set up a few safe houses too.”
“Good morning guys. You two look worse off then when I dropped you off last night”
Terth glares at Luca over a cup of coffee.
“Luca, If you are going to insist on being so chipper and start talking about business out of the gate, let me finish my coffee first. Otherwise I will not hesitate to dock your pay for the next week.”
Terth takes a sip of his coffee and turns back to Iskanda “…I was thinking of ordering the eggs Bastige, but the hollandaise sauce always seems to be hit or miss in this part of the city.” He pushes some menus towards the new company. “What are you guys going to get?”